Okay, so a couple of things all at once: Yesterday was a little intense and a little insane and definitely over-amped, but it got the story started and it got me over the first threshhold of writing again. The story has begun to take the shape I designed for it, and it has begun to develop a consistent voice and tone—"consistent" meaning both unequivocal, like one woman can tell the whole story in her own way, interrupting herself as circumstances warrant but never really breaking from the flow and never really changing voices or views or even slipping into something omniscient that she never in a million years could begin to see, imagine or understand…you know, the adherence to the old-fashioned "unities". One person tels the whole story from one pretty consistent point of view, and the point of view dictates what she can and cannot see and intuit and understand. Despite all the craziness, that feature began to develop in there. I’ve already established the characters and the bascis of their conflicts, and I;ve already set the stage for the tragedy with which everybody has to deal; I’ve laid the groundwork for the hero to prevail over tragic circumstances. Gotta give myself a little credit, because I managed to do all that in spite of being out of my mind and bascially scared shitless of both failure and success.
Of course, the only way to manage or cope with either of those fears is just to let them go. The whole idea is to get so immersed in the work itseld that its consequencea just don’t matter; that’s why, after all, I have an agent. Let her worry about the success and its complications. So much for cynicism. The other thing is letting go of all concern about whether or not I "desreve" to be a writer. "For God’s sake," the double meaning of which is not wasted on me, I just am a writer. Why is no surpirsied that I majored in English or became a teacher? Shit, I always and always have been "the" writer.
(Damn those boardshorts and towel are gonna be cold as I wriggle into them today! I really gotta remember that I do know how to operate the dryer—all its cyles and settings. And I really gotta remember that swimming ain’t so much less than baseball—ya still gotta care for the gear. Time to add both weights and skips to the workout routine; also time to take Moose for walks at sunset. All of us—meaning Moose and me and Mother Nature—we need that quality time for one another and for ourselves.)
But, yes, it bothers me that yesterday was so crazy. I struggled with and managed almost all the usual compulsions; I struggled with all my pet avoidances and still managed to make some words come out; and I can see and hear and feel the difference in these words from the words I was making at the middle of July when things unravelled. I’d love to justify the five-month freeze as a little moratorium, but let’s get real: I just choked for five months. I just let everything go for five months. I just indulged the fears and avoidances for five months. If there’s growth, it’s serendpity and not from natural consequence and sure as hell jot from design. But, yestersay, all the usual traps were there, and I managed to spring them without getting caught in them…
I ought to be a better psychologist with myself, remembering that sometimes the digressions are in fact the center of the conversation. I stopped myself from three-metering into professional specualtion, because it was gonna divert my attention from the story, but the professional speculation had its purpose and place. Yes, the "springboard" thing had its purpose, because it challenges me to lay the cornerstone of my "professional" creed. Yeah, what the hell: I think the cornerstone came pre-fabricated, but I still have to set it in place and make sure that it will hold the weight of all that gets built upon it. The cornerstone of my professional writing career comes from our old Berkeley buddy—we claim that affinity from history not from personal acquaintance, which is really too damned bad, because it coulda changed lotsa stuff. Anyway, I rest my professional career on "meaning it"; and I define "meaning it" just as Erik Eriksen does—the perfect combination of the most exquisite sublimation and liberated craftsmanship. How much is that to take on? Both as a concept and as a matter of everyday practice, how much is that to take on?
Damn! Gotta drag my little self down to the pool, push myself into those boardshorts that are gonna frost my little go-zingees, and push myself through the pool. And why? Because I agree with John Irving that wrting requires not only courage but also stamina. Yeah, that would be enough. But it's deeper and simpler: it's just because I'm an aquatic animal. If I don't get wet and hyper-chlorinated, I'm just gonna get cranky and out-of-sorts...not pretty at all.
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